Freedom Child, standing at Country Life Farm, is one of the region's new sires.  Photo by Ellen Pons.

Freedom Child, standing at Country Life Farm, is one of the region’s new sires. Photo by Ellen Pons.

by George Rowand

The advent of an upgraded breeding program in Maryland has stimulated farms in the Mid-Atlantic region to bring in new stallions that will be able to take advantage of the increased incentives for Maryland-breds. This article is the second part of a two-part introduction.

Pin Oak Lane welcomes Any Given Saturday and Corinthian to the farm in New Freedom, Pennsylvania. Any Given Saturday recently stood at Darley in Kentucky, and now the 9-year-old son of Distorted Humor will stand for a $5,000 stud fee. He’s coming off a year in which he sired 13 stakes horses, and he was the leading active sire in Pennsylvania for 2013.

“He had six 2-year-old stakes horses,” said Dr. William Solomon, the founder of Pin Oak Lane. “He’s a powerful looking horse, with a lot of speed.”

Corinthian won the Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile in 2007 and followed that up with a scintillating victory in the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, where he ran a 119 Beyer speed figure. He banked $1.26 million.

George Rowand started Bonner Farm in Virginia with his family in 1980.  From a mare that won just $450, and using modest stallions, he bred and managed Grade 1 winners Miss Josh and Royal Mountain Inn as well as graded stakes winners Highland Springs and Highland Crystal  He is the author of “Diary of a Dream: My Journey in Thoroughbred Racing.”

“We like horses that had a lot of speed,” Solomon stated. “Corinthian had more 2-year-old winners than any other sire in the Mid-Atlantic with 14.”

Corinthian, who stands for $4,000, is by Pulpit, another reason that Solomon is delighted to bring him to the area.

“You look at the list of top sires on any list, and they’re generally by horses like AP Indy, Pulpit, Distorted Humor, Unbridled’s Song or Giant’s Causeway.”

Corinthian.  Photo by Pin Oak Lane Farms.

Corinthian. Photo by Pin Oak Lane Farms.

Corinthian has 108 2-year-olds and has around 100 yearlings, Solomon reported.

“I prefer to bring horses like this up to the Mid-Atlantic rather than start horses here,” he said. “These horses should be successful.”

Freedom Child is a flashy chestnut stallion by the super successful Malibu Moon, who initially stood at Country Life Farm. Malibu Moon currently stands for $95,000 and is coming into 2014 off a terrific year in which his son, Orb, became a classic winner by taking the Kentucky Derby. Now Country Life is trying to find gold once again in the same stream.

“Malibu Moon was unheralded when he came here, but he was quite a handsome individual with a great pedigree,” said Josh Pons, who runs Country Life with his brother Mike. “We’ve been looking for a son of Malibu Moon that had similar qualities, and Freedom Child was second to Orb at Aqueduct at 2 and at 3 won the (Grade 2) Peter Pan by 13 lengths, wire-to-wire.”

Pons said that the fact that the Maryland breeding program is on “a wonderful uptick” was another incentive.

“He showed enough ability to warrant breeding a bunch of mares to him and seeing if he’s passing on the running genes. And when we stand a stallion at Country Life, we roll up our sleeves and breed a bunch of mares to our own horses. We own Freedom Child jointly with Spendthrift Farm, and they just sent four mares here to breed to him, and one of them was a $1 million Danzig mare. It’s been our experience that if you’re going to make a stallion, you have to show everybody that you believe in him as well.”

Freedom Child is standing for $3,500, but breeders in the first two years might be beneficiaries of a unique plan called “Share the Upside.” Basically, what happens is that if a mare owner pays an “enrollment fee” of $100 and then breeds at least one mare to the horse the first two years at stud, the mare owner owns a lifetime breeding right to the stallion.

“It’s a program initiated at Spendthrift, and it’s been a blockbuster,” Pons related. “It’s an incentive program to reward mare owners, and it has been very popular. And if the stallion hits, well, the return could be crazy.”

Another son of Malibu Moon has landed in Maryland this year as Baltimore Bob comes back to Maryland at the end of his racing career and takes up residence at Shamrock Farm in Woodbine. He is standing for a $3,000 stud fee.

The multiple-stakes winner took home $381,000 in a career that stretched from ages 2 to 7, and his best distance clearly was a mile on the grass, as  seven of his 11 victories came on that surface and at that distance. His half-sister, Baltimore Belle, is a multiple stakes winner of $373,000, and another half-sister produced Action Andy, the Frank DeFrancis Memorial Stakes winner of $623,000.

“He’s 16.2, and he looks just like Malibu Moon,” said Jim Steele, farm manager at Shamrock. “And while he won on the turf, Malibu Moon produced good horses on all surfaces, so that wouldn’t drive me away. We’re very pleased that he’s here. He was test-bred to five mares last year in Florida, and he got them all in foal. We’ve got quite a few mares booked to him already.”

Buffum.  Photo by Barbara Livingston.

Buffum. Photo by Barbara Livingston.

Buffum brings a pedigree loaded with quality and endowed with speed to his new home at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Maryland. The 5-year-old son of Bernardini hails from the family of Dayjur and Gold Beauty, both champion sprinters in their day, but champion Sky Beauty is close up in the pedigree, and she could run – and win – at classic distances. A winner at 2, Buffum took the 7 furlong Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap at 4 in wire-to-wire fashion. Standing for $3,500, Buffum seems like the kind of a stallion that could have a quick impact in the Mid-Atlantic region. He has a pedigree that has a number of classic influences in it, he had early speed and could carry his speed at least a mile. He is an interesting prospect.

Another new stallion for Northview is El Padrino, winner of the 2012 edition of the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fairgrounds. The flashy chestnut won $326,000 at the races and is inbred 3X3 to Mr. Prospector and 4X5 to Secretariat. He stands for $5,000.

“We think that El Padrino was a very nice racehorse,” said Paul O’Loughlin, bloodstock manager at Northview. “And the pedigree just keeps getting better and better.”

O’Loughlin is right.  By Pulpit, he is the first foal out of Enchanted Rock, by Giant’s Causeway. Her second foal is Verrazano, winner of $1.6 million including the Haskell and the Wood Memorial last year, so the mare is two-for-two in terms of graded stakes winners from foals, which, while unique, shouldn’t be completely surprising. El Padrino’s pedigree is loaded with quality stallions and mares. On the track, it seems that his best distance was a mile-and-a-sixteenth, so – depending on the kind of mares that are bred to him – this could mean that the resulting foals could win at sprinting distances or in longer races.

(Featured image, of Freedom Child winning the Peter Pan Stakes, by Chelsea Durand/NYRA.)